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Task force takes up Humane Society report

The safety and security of Superior's animals hung in the balance as a group of community leaders met for the first time Wednesday to help decide the future of the city animal shelter.

The safety and security of Superior's animals hung in the balance as a group of community leaders met for the first time Wednesday to help decide the future of the city animal shelter.

On March 29, Mayor Dave Ross recommended appointing several people to the Superior Animal Shelter Task Force, including city Finance Director Jean Vito; Bob McClellan, DVM, Superior Animal Hospital; Deidre Gaynor-Peterson, Douglas County Humane Society; Carolyn Pierce, attorney; Dave Minor, Superior Douglas County Chamber of Commerce; Mick MacKenzie, city council; Judie Philips, Animal Rescue Federation; and Linda Baumgarth-Cadotte, Animal Allies.

The task force is charged with reviewing the shelter evaluation report by the Humane Society of the United States and making a recommendation to the Common Council for the implementation of suggestions from that report. The task force also was charged with recommending a nonprofit vendor to assume the lead role in organizing a capital campaign and implementing continued funding for the new shelter, if a new shelter is found necessary.

The task force was strongly urged to submit its recommendations to the council no later than Aug. 17.

During the initial meeting, the task force elected Minor president; MacKenzie was approved as vice president after he volunteered.

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With procedural and housekeeping duties out of the way, the task force immediately started its review of the Humane Society of the U.S. shelter evaluation.

The report indicated neither ARF nor the Douglas County Humane Society seemed to have board members capable of initiating and sustaining a capital campaign. The members present from those organizations concurred.

"Combining the two current boards will not give the results you want," McClellan said. "A board merger would be good but we need to create a new entity as we do not have the total talents within the two boards to run a large business."

"We have enough talent to do this but we would like a city liaison," said Judy Philips of ARF.

Discussion then turned toward location for a new shelter; MacKenzie suggested the H&H Marine building as being a viable area.

However, Vito reminded members the charge is determining whether the city needs a new facility and who would operate it.

The task force concurred that appropriate location of a new shelter was best left to the new operating board if one is established.

As the task force continued to discuss the report issued by the Humane Society of the United States, MacKenzie questioned if Animal Allies is asked to be the sole vendor, can it provide operational expertise for the new shelter.

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Philips said Animal Allies couldn't get along with their animal control officers. Philips also stated she couldn't figure out why Animal Allies, which operates Duluth's shelter, was brought in to the report.

Minor said ARF, Douglas County Humane Society and Animal Allies should be prepared to present to the task force an overview of their operation and services.

Having completed the initial meeting agenda items, Minor asked for input on the agenda items for the next meeting.

MacKenzie suggested talking to Douglas County Board Chairman Doug Finn, inviting him to attend the meetings. The group concurred.

Some discussion was held about county law enforcement role and the Douglas County Humane Society.

Philips said there was only one scheduled shift for deputies in Douglas County. While task force members questioned the accuracy of that statement, they agreed understanding Douglas County law enforcement practices would help them understand animal control in the county.

Deputies in the Douglas County Sheriff's Department are on duty 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, Sheriff Tom Dalbec said during an interview Thursday.

The next task force meeting is set for 4 p.m. in the Government Center.

Related Topics: SUPERIOR
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